Dancing the Boom Cha Cha Boogie

by Narelle Oliver (Omnibus Scholastic Australia Malvern South Australia 2005)

peace with ourselves-peace with each other

recommended but unavailable - maybe a copy in your local library


Murmels were left homeless after a huge storm. But they were stranded on a shore that was unfamiliar to them. The Boss Snig was wary of their arrival and wanted them to leave his homeland as soon as possible. But not all Snigs wanted the Murmels contained whilst their boat was being fixed. This incredibly creative and interesting story reflects the kinds of xenophobic reactions that are often experienced by refugees and asylum seekers. It is for all ages to enjoy and share together and it contains many peace-building elements:

  • happy endings

  • everyone winning

  • nonviolent resolution

  • imaginative and creative

  • challenges existing stereotyping

  • faith and hope

  •     peace with the environment

  • finding personal peace

  •     ..and element that supports the idea that peace is possible

The bravery of one young Snig opened the possibilities for the learning of new ways. The Snigs learned how to dance the Boom Cha Cha Boogie and to eat different and tasty foods. The ending befits the kind of peace-building outcomes for refugees and asylum seekers that peace-builders seek in our communities today.

The consequences of our choices are important. Being open to new ideas and new ways of doing things may create a more peaceful world, one that supports positive interaction and sharing of ideas between all peoples. How would we like to be treated if a similar situation occurred to us?

Critical questions to explore with children

  • Why did the Murmels leave their homeland?
  • Why was the Boss Snig so keen to have the Murmels leave his land? 
  • Who felt differently about the Murmels and what did she choose to do?
  • What did the young Snig learn from the Murmels?
  • Why do you think the Boss Snig enjoyed eating the waterwhopper?
  • What do you think the Murmels told the Snigs?
  • What do you think the Snigs told the Murmels?
  • Does the story have a happy win-win ending?

Creative questions to explore with children

  • What might have caused the huge storm that destroyed the homeland of the Murmels?
  • Would you describe the Murmels as being peaceful creatures? Were they dangerous?
  • Why do you think the Snigs wanted to keep their homeland to themselves?
  • Was the young Snig brave or silly? Could she had found herself in a dangerous situation?
  • How else could the Boss Snig have greeted the Murmels?
  • Was life on the Snig Island good before the Murmels arrived?
  • How was life for the Snigs improved after the Murmels arrived?
  • How else could the story have ended happily with win-win?

Teaching and Learning for Peace Foundation January 2007

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